February 23,2024

EIA Gets Sued Over Making Unlawful Data Collection Demands

The Texas Blockchain Council (TBC) and crypto miner Riot Platforms recently filed a lawsuit against the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), alleging that the agency made unlawful demands for data collection through the Bitcoin mining sector.

In the previous month, the EIA announced its intention to collect data on the electricity usage of certain US-based crypto miners, starting in early February. This requirement pertains to commercial miners, who are obligated to disclose their energy consumption. The decision came after emergency approval for data collection was granted by the Office of Management and Budget on January 26th.

 

TBC Speaks Out

TBC, a non-profit organization, highlighted that the EIA requested specific information such as the types of machines utilized and the locations of mining operations. There were concerns expressed regarding the potential public disclosure of this sensitive data, which could lead to further scrutiny of the industry, as hinted at in previous statements by The White House.

According to the council, this move is part of a broader strategy led by Senator Warren and the Biden Administration, described as a whole of government approach to address the digital asset industry. TBC also characterized the action as a direct assault on private businesses under the guise of an emergency. TBC President Lee Bratcher claimed it is evident that the focus here is not about grid stability, as Bitcoin miners are the most flexible load on any grid, but is a targeted political effort led by figures like Elizabeth Warren.

 

Addressing Energy Usage Concerns

Warren, along with other Democratic lawmakers, had previously urged major US crypto mining companies to disclose their energy usage. Last year, a select few of these companies called on the US Environmental Protection Agency to implement regulations mandating crypto-mining operations to report their yearly energy consumption.

Bitcoin mining offers advantages such as network decentralization and profit opportunities for miners. However, it also presents risks that affect both miners and the broader community. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, Bitcoin mining globally consumes approximately 127 terawatt-hours (TWh) annually, surpassing the energy consumption of some countries. Nevertheless, compared to the banking industry, the energy usage of Bitcoin is significantly lower.

 

February 23,2024

Reddit Admits To Buying Both Bitcoin And Ethereum

Bitcoin (BTC) surged to $52,000, and Ethereum (ETH) surpassed $3,000 once again following a recent disclosure by Reddit Inc. regarding their holdings in treasury reserves. Reddit allocated some of their surplus cash reserves into BTC and ETH in addition to also procuring ETH and MATIC as payment for sales of specific virtual goods, a practice which the company may sustain in the future.

 

Slow And Steady

The proceeds via the sales of virtual goods in ETH and MATIC were negligible for the fiscal years ended December 31st, 2022, and 2023. Furthermore, Reddit acquired and maintained digital assets, specifically cryptocurrencies, for the utilization of their product and engineering teams, subject to specific purposes.

As of December 31st, 2023, their digital asset holdings for treasury purposes exclusively comprised BTC and ETH, and any investments in cryptocurrencies mandate approval by their Board of Directors, as per their investment policy.

Moreover, according to a Reddit representative, treasury investments in cryptocurrencies are confined to Bitcoin, Ether, and any other cryptocurrency identified by the SEC, Commodities Futures Trading Commission, or prominent members of their staff through public statements or guidance as likely not constituting a security.

 

Reddit Goes All In

Reddit chose not to disclose precise amounts of BTC and ETH held, stating instead that the net carrying value of their cryptocurrencies, primarily Bitcoin and Ether, along with all related cryptocurrency activities, was immaterial for the periods outlined. Reddit has explored various crypto initiatives, including tokenized karma such as Moons and Donuts.

While Moons was discontinued, Donuts, operating on a decentralized model, continue to be traded and earned by participating in ethtraders discussions. Lastly, in their Initial Public Offering (IPO) filing, Reddit disclosed advertising revenue of $804 million for 2023.

 

February 22,2024

DeFi Staking Continues To Evolve Through LRTs And Blast

Liquid restaking tokens (LRTs) and the rise of layer two solution Blast are fueling a fresh surge in DeFi staking. LRTs, the latest development in LSDs (liquid staking derivatives), have showcased notable innovation and adaptability within the Ethereum ecosystem, particularly following the Shanghai upgrade.

In the realm of DeFi, the advent of LRTs represents a significant shift in the traditional staking paradigm. Secondly, increased fund inflows significantly enhance market liquidity, contributing to the stability of the entire DeFi ecosystem. Furthermore, dynamic staking strategies, by offering diversified and customized investment options, foster market innovation and development.

However, implementing these strategies faces technical hurdles, particularly in constructing efficient and accurate algorithmic models and ensuring system security and resilience against network attacks.

 

Going All In

Pendle Finance ventured into uncharted territory within the LSD sphere, pioneering yield tokenization on Ethereum, facilitating users to trade yield and earn fixed yields on their assets. This innovative approach paved the way for novel strategies in yield optimization and risk management.

However, the pursuit of higher yields and optimized utilization of staked assets persisted. Eigenlayer, a restaking protocol, emerged with a more intricate model. Eigenlayer enables stakers to reallocate their staked assets to reinforce additional decentralized services on the Ethereum network. This not only amplifies the overall rewards but also fortifies the cryptographic security and resilience of the entire Ethereum network.

 

Still A Ways To Go

Despite all the potential, a significant obstacle surfaced. Restaked assets became fragmented and illiquid, impeding activity and interoperability within the DeFi space. This is where LRTs come into play. This innovation unlocks the liquidity of restaked assets and further boosts the rewards for stakers by enabling participation in DeFi activities.

Users can deposit LRTs into liquid restaking protocols to garner additional earnings. These developments have propelled the LSD space to a more intricate and diversified ecosystem as opposed to a single-layer staking infrastructure.

Recent developments such as the emergence of Blast echo this trajectory. Blast, an EVM-compatible Ethereum layer two network, offers native yield staking of ETH and stablecoins on its platform. This democratizes staking rewards and enhances the overall user experience by streamlining the process.

 

February 22,2024

Congressman Davidson Believes CBDCs Are Evil And Must Be Avoided

In a recent development on Capitol Hill, Representative Warren Davidson of Ohio has escalated his critique of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), asserting that they represent a significant challenge to the foundational principles of Western society. During a session of the House Financial Committee, Davidson voiced his concerns and advocated for legislation aimed at preventing the development and adoption of CBDCs.

The consistent opposition to CBDCs by Davidson has prompted the House Financial Committee to approve a bill aimed at prohibiting their use. He reiterated his stance, describing CBDCs as a potential threat to Western civilization. Through his tweets, Davidson also stressed the need for debate and the adoption of legislation to block the emergence of CBDCs.

 

Concerns Across The Board

This is not the first instance where Representative Davidson has spoken against CBDCs. In December, he passionately opposed them in Congress, labeling them as a significant threat and a distortion of the concept of money. He compared CBDCs to the financial equivalent of the Death Star in Star Wars, portraying them as intrinsically malevolent.

The proposed legislation, supported by Davidson, would therefore not only ban the development of CBDCs but also restrict the use of federal funds for their creation and implementation. This proposed legislation highlights the growing concerns among certain lawmakers regarding the potential impact of CBDCs on the stability and sovereignty of traditional financial systems.

 

Looking Ahead

As the bill progresses, it is anticipated to face vigorous debate in the House. Davidson and other like-minded legislators are likely to continue advocating for its adoption, stressing the urgency of protecting the integrity of Western financial institutions when it comes to this seemingly looming threat.

The clash over CBDCs continues to intensify in Congress, with Representative Warren Davidson emerging as a leading voice against their proliferation. As the proposed legislation gains momentum, the broader implications of banning CBDCs remain a contentious issue among policymakers and industry stakeholders.

With the future of digital currencies uncertain, the outcome of this legislative struggle could have profound effects on the trajectory of monetary policy and financial regulation in the Western world.

 

February 21,2024

Avalanche Is The New Destination For Sports Illustrated Tickets

Avalanche has acquired a stake in Sports Illustrated Tickets and has become the blockchain provider for its NFT-enabled ticketing service, Box Office, which is a blockchain-based ticketing service, allows individuals to organize paid or free events. The Super Tickets NFT tickets offered by Box Office include features such as NFT videos, exclusive offers, and loyalty benefits, according to a press release by SI Tickets.

Sports Illustrated Tickets operates as a secondary market ticketing platform under the Sports Illustrated brand umbrella. While it leases the Sports Illustrated brand through a brand management firm, it is a distinct entity compared to the troubled magazine, emphasized SI Tickets CEO David Lane in an interview.

 

An Inevitable Move

Since its launch in May 2023, Box Office has issued approximately 300,000 tickets, according to SI Tickets. Initially, Box Office was launched on Polygon with support by Consensys. Ava Labs, the company behind Avalanche, had discussions with SI Tickets to support the platform at that time, explained John Nahas, Ava Labs Senior Vice President of business development. Less than a year later, SI Tickets transitioned to Avalanche.

According to John, Polygon had its moment, and then SI Tickets returned and indicated that many of the things which had been promised for assistance purposes, particularly on the tech side, seemed to be true and then the switch over to Avalanche seemed inevitable.

 

The Rise Of NFT Ticketing

Ava Labs appears to have high hopes for NFT ticketing. It has invested in another Web3 ticketing platform called tixbase, and the South Korean concert ticket platform Dreamus has integrated with Avalanche. However, when it comes to NFT tickets, Box Office is considered the primary component of a multi-faceted strategy, according to Nahas.

Lane of SI Tickets expressed optimism about the potential of Web3 for the ticketing industry, highlighting that traditional barcode scans are comparatively ineffective compared to NFT tickets, which facilitate easier verification and can serve as keepsakes after events.

 

February 21,2024

Ethereum Finds Hope Via Verkle Trees Implementation

Ethereum solo stakers and network nodes stand to gain rewards with the integration of Verkle trees, as stated by Vitalik Buterin. The Ethereum co-founder recently praised the benefits of this technological upgrade to the Ethereum protocol. This followed the much-anticipated activation of the Beacon Chain, marking the transition of Ethereum to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus in September 2022.

Verkle trees are set to enable stateless validator clients, with Buterin emphasizing their ability to empower staking nodes to function with minimal hard disk space and achieve nearly instant synchronization. Buterin had previously outlined a step-by-step process aimed at guiding the smart contract blockchain towards what he termed the endgame of development for Ethereum.

 

Verkle Trees Part Of Roadmap

Five keywords summarized the successive development phases, The Merge, Surge, Verge, Purge, and Splurge detail the technical complexities of various developmental milestones. Verkle trees fall within the Verge category, representing the third phase of the development path for Ethereum.

This phase includes the introduction of Verkle trees, which are poised to enhance data storage efficiency and reduce node size. Buterin explained the technical details of Verkle trees in the Ethereum Improvement Proposal documentation published in 2022.

Verkle trees serve a similar function to Merkle trees, which consolidate all transactions within a block and generate proof of the entire dataset for a user seeking verification. The key advantage that Verkle trees offer, however, is their significantly smaller proof size. While Verkle trees employ structures similar to Merkle trees, a key difference lies in nodes using a specific hash type called a vector commitment, which is transmitted to sub-nodes. Vector commitments are also expected to provide significant long-term benefits to the Ethereum network.

 

The Advantages

The primary advantage of Verkle trees is a move towards statelessness for Ethereum, where nodes verifying blocks would no longer be needed for storage. Verkle trees enable smaller proof sizes, which can fit within each block of the Ethereum blockchain. As a result, nodes can verify any block using the contained data.

The implementation of Verkle trees is expected to introduce a variety of new functionalities, including reduced hardware requirements for operating Ethereum nodes, thus improving network decentralization. Additionally, new nodes can quickly join the network and synchronize with it promptly.

The development of Verkle trees is ongoing, and integrating them into the Ethereum protocol will require several adjustments. These adjustments include a new data structure to maintain the state of the network, a revised gas accounting model, a plan for migrating to Verkle trees, new cryptographic primitives, and new block-level fields.

 

February 20,2024

Worldcoin Rally Continues As Daily User Milestone Gets Surpassed

The remarkable surge exhibited by Worldcoin continues to persist, marked by the revelation that its World App achieved over 1 million daily users in the past week. The project disclosed this milestone via a tweet on February 17th, illustrating a consistent uptrend in daily user numbers since November.

Simultaneously, the price of WLD is soaring, hitting a new peak of nearly $8 not too long ago, before retracting to $6.75. WLD emerged as the top-performing crypto asset in the past week among the top 100, with a remarkable surge of 155% over the past seven days, as per CoinGecko.

 

A New Era In AI

This surge is largely attributed to the impending launch of Sora, an innovative text-to-video AI model by OpenAI, spearheaded by Worldcoin co-founder, Sam Altman. Sora was unveiled on February 15th, a development which further fueled momentum for WLD.

The allure that Worldcoin has when it comes to free tokens unsurprisingly garnered plenty of popularity, particularly in emerging countries last year, with millions of World IDs reportedly issued. Nonetheless, regulatory hurdles emerged, with investigations by the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner into potential violations of the Privacy Ordinance and Worldcoin halting World ID verification in Kenya under pressure by local regulators.

 

The Controversy Continues

While the rally boosted early investor portfolios significantly, including contentious entities within the Web3 sector, such as Teneo and Alameda Research, it has also raised eyebrows. Worldcoin has stirred controversy since its mainnet launch in July, aiming to address the deepfake issue by introducing a digital identity protocol atop Ethereum. Users obtain a World ID post retina scan verification, ensuring uniqueness and a lack of prior World ID issuance.

Each World ID recipient received 25 WLD tokens, with Worldcoin Orb operators, who conduct iris scans, also receiving WLD tokens. Initially valued at around $60, the 25 WLD tokens surged in value to around $170 at current rates.

Lastly, although the use of retina-scanning technology raises suspicion, Worldcoin assures the deletion of retina images once an iris code is generated, by default. Moreover, users have the option to join a data custody program to avoid re-verification via iris scans. Still, many remain unconvinced that the data is in fact deleted, as other platforms like Discord made similar promises but those turned out to be false.

February 20,2024

New Legislative Policy Could Enable Japanese Investment Funds To Hold Crypto

In a notable development indicating a shift in the Japanese approach to cryptocurrencies, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and his administration recently took steps to enable venture capital firms and investment funds to directly hold crypto assets. The objective is to modify the local Industrial Competitiveness Enhancement Act to include digital assets as acceptable investments for investment limited partnerships commonly used by venture capital firms.

This change highlights renewed intentions to embrace the potential advantages of digital assets within the Japanese investment framework. The main points of focus will therefore be on legislative approval, Web3 firms, and gradual regulatory relaxation.

 

Key Points

The cabinet led by Prime Minister Kishida approved the bill on February 16th, marking a crucial stage before its submission to the Japanese Parliament, for discussion. The proposed adjustment seeks to grant venture capital firms and investment funds more freedom to interact with cryptocurrencies, aligning with the broader goal of promoting local innovation and economic development.

Prime Minister Kishida also emphasized support for Web3 firms, indicating strategic alignment with emerging technologies and digital advancements. Lastly, while Japan has been known for its strict regulations in the digital asset domain, recent initiatives show a gradual relaxation of certain crypto regulations concerning token listings and taxation. The proposed bill marks a significant departure compared to the previous conservative regulatory stance, acknowledging the evolving nature of digital assets and their potential impact on investments.

 

Market Implications

As Japan moves towards integrating digital assets into its investment landscape, stakeholders will closely watch what happens next. The outcome of the forthcoming debate could significantly shape domestic regulatory direction and influence the position of Japan within the global blockchain and digital arena.

If the proposed amendment is approved, it could open doors for increased exposure to cryptocurrencies within the local investment sector, fostering innovation and potentially attracting new capital into the market.

 

February 19,2024

FTX Drama Continues As Hidden Deal Uncovered In Lawsuit

According to a report on February 17th, a lawsuit alleges that FTX orchestrated a confidential deal with Deltec Bank. Caroline Ellison, previously the CEO of Alameda Research, disclosed that Alameda had the ability to generate USDT through credit and subsequently sell it for profit via an unofficial credit line with Deltec, deferring immediate payment.

This setup enabled Alameda to mint billions in USDT during 2020 and 2021, selling the cryptocurrency at a profit before settling debts. This approach provided Alameda with considerable financial leverage, facilitating transactions with funds not yet paid for, described as a short-term credit facility.

 

A Substantial Scam

The lawsuit contends that Deltec facilitated the movement of funds between FTX and Alameda, including transferring FTX customer deposits to Alameda, contrary to standard protocols. It further alleges that Deltec favored the transactions of Alameda, particularly during cryptocurrency market downturns.

Connections between Deltec, FTX, and Moonstone Bank are also highlighted, with Moonstone Bank receiving substantial sums by Alameda and an FTX affiliate. Following scrutiny by the Federal Reserve in August 2023, Moonstone Bank ceased operations this February.

 

Damage Control

Deltec representatives, including lawyer Desiree Moore, asserted that neither the bank nor its Chairman were aware of any wrongdoing. They argued that the accusations rely on unverified assertions by individuals seeking to resolve legal disputes.

These claims compound the legal hurdles facing FTX, which are largely distinct compared to its bankruptcy proceedings and the criminal case involving its former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried. The intricate network of financial dealings raises concerns about regulatory oversight within the cryptocurrency sector.

 

February 19,2024

Honduras Bans Crypto Due To Lack Of Precise Regulations

Honduras has implemented a prohibition on cryptocurrency trading within its financial institutions, as declared by the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBS). This action aims to safeguard the integrity of the local financial system, diverging as a result of the growing acceptance of cryptocurrencies worldwide, such as the introduction of Bitcoin ETFs in the US.

The decision arises due to the absence of precise regulations concerning crypto assets within Honduras, leaving consumers vulnerable to fraud and illicit activities like money laundering. Additionally, concerns have been raised regarding the decentralized nature of crypto enterprises, posing challenges for local regulators to oversee their operations.

 

A Ban To Protect Individuals

The CNBS directive explicitly forbids financial entities in Honduras when it comes to engaging with crypto assets, virtual currencies, tokens, or similar digital assets that have not received approval by the Central Bank of Honduras. This action is taken to closely monitor financial transactions and uphold the security of the domestic financial sector.

This approach contrasts with that of other nations increasingly embracing crypto trading and blockchain technology. While some countries are welcoming these digital assets, Honduras is adopting a cautious stance to mitigate potential risks.

 

Mixed Reactions

Unsurprisingly, the ban has elicited diverse reactions, with some commending the prudence of the government in protecting consumers, while others criticize it for potentially hindering innovation and restricting the involvement of the country in the global digital economy.

Looking ahead, the ban underscores the challenges of integrating digital assets into traditional financial systems and fuels the ongoing global debate on regulating these emerging technologies. In any case, Honduras contributes to the ongoing discourse on striking a balance between innovation and regulation in the cryptocurrency domain.

 

February 19,2024

Funding Deals 13th To 19th February 2024

It has been an incredible week for companies around the globe in terms of securing funding to fuel their growth and innovation. Here are some of the latest investment highlights between February 13th-19th, courtesy of CryptoWeekly:

RAI Inc - Secured $3.5M in Seed funding from Aura Investment on 02/16/2024.

Lava Network - Raised an impressive $15M in Seed funding from HashKey Capital on 02/15/2024, bolstering their journey in Iceland's thriving tech ecosystem.

Helika - Successfully closed $8M in Series A funding led by Pantera Capital on 02/15/2024, driving forward their mission in Canada's vibrant startup landscape.

Life DeFi - Secured $500K in Seed funding from MDIM Holdings on 02/15/2024, empowering their vision to revolutionize the DeFi space in the United States.

Ultiverse - Raised $4M through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) backed by IDG Capital on 02/14/2024, marking a significant milestone for the blockchain startup based in Singapore.

Architect - Closed a notable $12M in Series A funding led by BlockTower Capital on 02/14/2024, fueling their ambition to reshape the future of architecture in the United States.

FORDEFI - Secured $10M in Seed funding from Electric Capital on 02/13/2024, propelling their mission to democratize decentralized finance in the United States.

Nym Technologies SA - Received a grant of $150K from Zcash Open Major Grants on 02/13/2024, empowering their efforts to enhance privacy infrastructure from Switzerland.

IntentX - Raised $1.8M in Seed funding from Selini Capital on 02/13/2024, accelerating their journey to innovate in the global marketplace.

Thunderbirds - Secured $5.5M in Seed funding from Aura Investment on 02/13/2024, paving the way for their ambitious endeavors in the United States.

👏 Congratulations to everyone on their funding achievements! Excited to witness the remarkable impact they'll make in their respective industries. As always, stay up to date with all the latest developments with CryptoWeekly.

February 18,2024

Inflation Concerns Continue As BTC Holds Its Ground

Despite hovering around the mark, Bitcoin maintained its position at $52,000 as Wall Street commenced trading on February 16th, while the latest macroeconomic data by the United States exceeded expectations. Other data indicated stability in BTC price as the final TradFi trading session of the week began.

Following the release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) two days prior, the Producer Price Index (PPI) figures for January raised concerns about inflation in the US Year-on-year, PPI stood at 0.9%, slightly lower than the previous month but still 0.3% higher than market forecasts. Moreover, the combination of high CPI and PPI results prompted caution in the markets regarding potential adjustments to fiscal policy by the Federal Reserve this year.

 

Cutting Interest Rates

According to data by the FedWatch Tool, the likelihood of a Fed interest rate reduction at its March meeting was 8.5% at the time of reporting, significantly lower than the 17.5% probability at the beginning of the week. A March interest rate cut is likely completely ruled out after this data, trading resource The Kobeissi Letter commented on X, echoing its response to CPI. Furthermore, a May rate cut has become questionable as well.

Bitcoin had reached $52,884 on Bitstamp the previous day, marking its highest level since late November 2021, but faced resistance via sellers. Analyzing four-hour timeframes, popular trader Skew highlighted the significance of the 21-period exponential moving average (EMA), currently positioned around $51,000. There has been choppy price action here with a lot of inside bar closes essentially within the same intraday balance, he observed.

 

Other News

Elsewhere, U.S. spot-Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) saw net inflows of nearly half a billion dollars on February 15th, contributing to a strong week where the ETF products regained attention more than a month after their initial launch. However, despite removing more BTC than adding to it daily within its circulation, the ETFs raised some concerns among market observers.

Strategists at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and MFS Investment Management are among those talking up prospects in Europe. After being out of favor with investors for so long, stock valuations look enticing compared with their pace-setting US peers. Plus, there is no threat of Magnificent Seven tech bubble popping.

Additionally, fund managers are becoming increasingly concerned about a systemic credit event as alarms sound in global property markets. According to the most recent Global Fund Manager survey, about one in six of those polled believe such a crunch is the most serious tail risk facing markets. The growing concern about US commercial real estate and Chinese property markets has pushed it to third place among respondents, trailing only higher inflation and geopolitical tensions.

 








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